Lydia is in kindergarten now and easily picking up the "sight words" and phonics as they're taught. There's no need to pressure her to pick up reading any faster, but I pounced on this opportunity to help her practice by doing something she was really interested in doing! The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one … Continue reading How playing Gollum can boost reading skills
Four years ago, I posted a photo of the stack of books I got for Christmas and later updated the post with links to the book reviews. This year, I've already finished one of the books (the longest one!) so this post isn't just a tease--it also includes one review! The Forgotten Garden is the … Continue reading The Forgotten Garden and books I’m going to read in 2020
I said that in 2019 I was going to write a series on this topic, and here it is New Year's Eve and I haven't! So here's my outline, and feel free to comment with questions about these topics, and I'll get to work on this in 2020! UPDATE: I've now filled in the outline … Continue reading 15 Ways to Build a Smarter Kid
None of these was a book newly published in 2019. I don't avoid reading brand-new books, but I don't see any reason to focus on new ones when there are so many wonderful books out there! Because I tend to buy new books or check out books that are available at the library without reserving … Continue reading The 5 Best Books I Read in 2019
As we wrap up the second decade of the twenty-first century, I've been reading and thinking about things like the effects of immigration policy on science and marriage, how the struggle against racism has changed over time, and what weird new technologies may emerge in the 2020s. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler The cover emphasizes … Continue reading Vinegar Girl, Bright April, Tell the Machine Goodnight [book reviews]
It's October. That means, at least here in Pittsburgh, everyone is beginning to talk about how to commemorate the terrible thing that happened here last October 27, when some guy from the suburbs drove into our Squirrel Hill neighborhood, went into the Tree of Life synagogue, murdered 11 people, injured others, and traumatized many more. … Continue reading Relighting the Tree of Life
At some point during my many years of working in an office, I developed the habit of making a cup of peppermint tea as soon as I got to work every morning. I'm less consistent when I'm between jobs (as I am now) so I'm not necessarily sitting down at the computer every morning--but peppermint … Continue reading Peppermint Tea: Healthy Helper or Just Hot Water?
I stepped into an aisle in my local library's fiction section and checked out the first two books that looked good. Each of them turned out to be the first novel by an author experienced in another type of writing--Erin Kelly is a journalist, and Richard Kramer is a television scriptwriter. Both of them are … Continue reading Two First Novels by Authors Starting with K [book reviews]
My family spends a lot less time in the car than the American average, but we get into our car for hours-long errand binges some weekends and several long road trips each year. For the past three school years, my son had to be driven through urban rush-hour traffic to a weekly activity at dinnertime. … Continue reading Cutting Back on Car Snacks
My daughter Lydia is about to start kindergarten and is not really reading yet, only recognizing about 10 words. That's fine. When I was her age, I was reading on about a fourth-grade level, and that was fine, too--except that I got bored with the books in my classroom. My father mentioned to a co-worker … Continue reading Trixie Belden and the Little Fires Within You [book reviews]
The Biggest Little Farm and Symbiotic Earth are two informative films that are fun to watch--perfect for raising awareness of ecosystems and how we can live in harmony.
Here are four books I read to myself and two I read to my daughter Lydia in the past month. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty Nine people check into a ten-day wellness retreat in rural Australia. Three of them are a family, two others are a couple, but otherwise they've never met before. Each … Continue reading Books for Myself; Books to Read to my 5-year-old
I haven't written any book reviews since January, but I've been reading! These books are very different from one another, but a lot of the covers have a certain color scheme. Beige isn't always boring! I really like some of these cover designs. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham Rowan is a 21st-century teenager with a … Continue reading Beige Book Reviews
This year I've been helping with a local challenge to reduce single-use plastics. My church hosted a screening of Plastic Paradise, a documentary I highly recommend for learning more about where plastic stuff goes when we throw it "away." Of course we wanted to serve some snacks to welcome people to our parish hall and … Continue reading Party Without Plastic! How to serve less trashy refreshments
I recently read two novels translated into English, a book written in English that attempts to translate "boy world" into ideas parents can understand, and an English mystery with some parallels to the Swedish mystery I'd just read. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum A young man finds … Continue reading Wild Sheep, Wingmen, and Dueling Detectives [book reviews]
Next week, I'll be starting a new job! That's great news in general, but it means I only have two days left to savor my daily bus ride with my four-year-old Lydia, bringing her home from preschool. My new job's location makes it too difficult and time-consuming for me to get to Lydia's school by … Continue reading Two Books for Me, Two for My Four-Year-Old
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Most of my life, I've enjoyed reading the same books over and over--not too often, but returning to old favorites every few years. I noticed that what felt like "a few years" increased as I got older, but then when I was pregnant with my daughter I suddenly wanted to read only books that were … Continue reading Two Books to Read Once
Well, it's happened with the second child: That moment when a total stranger interrupts my reading aloud to voice the opinion that the child is too young to understand what I'm reading. Here's how I described this phenomenon when my first child was 4 years old: I must say, I got far less flak from … Continue reading Our kids understand books because we read them books!
I wrote a short review of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but I have more to say about this book. The author is a marriage counselor whose experience with clients led him to identify 5 distinct ways of expressing love and to recognize that the acts that convey to you that someone really … Continue reading more about The 5 Love Languages